The largest expense of any organization is the cost of staffing, especially when trying to schedule multiple departments or clinics. This is particularly frustrating for the hospitals and other medical organizations trying to keep costs down and improve employee satisfaction. For those who are frustrated and looking for ways to spend their money efficiently, an automated staffing software can considerably reduce operational costs, and increase the amount of time that staff members spend with patients.
When organizations such as the Providence Alaska Medical Center (PAMC) consider where they are spending the most money and time, the results can be surprising. The PAMC found that the hospital’s staffing budget, which included salaries, benefits, and contract labor, was grossly over budget. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the budget problem could be linked to nursing salaries, with the adult critical care unit going 22% over budget for staffing. This could have also been caused by an increase in overtime, due to an inefficient schedule or unproductive scheduling reporting. Having just one unit overbudget can affect the operating budget for the entire hospital. The increase in staffing costs is due to an inefficient scheduling process that can lead to assigning staff more shifts than necessary, or from being understaffed and having to scramble to find staff to fill open shifts.
The irony is that, even though healthcare has become more complicated over the years, the way that hospitals schedule their physicians and staff has remained stagnant and outdated. Developing schedules, struggling with a manual system, tracking PTO by hand, and many other staffing decisions can occupy more than 50% of a manager’s time. This is valuable time could impact how a manager goes about their day, which could then lead to an increase in overtime just from creating the schedule itself. Implementing an automated scheduling solution provides managers with a simple way to schedule their physicians and staff, and gives them more opportunity focus on other tasks. In 2010, the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital replaced manual and paper-based processes with automated scheduling solutions. A time study of inpatient nursing units revealed a return of 7 hours of work per manager for every pay period. Stresses caused by scheduling and staffing problems can be avoided with the implementation of an automated scheduling solution.
By using automated scheduling software, hospital departments can significantly reduce financial problems typically associated with medical scheduling and staffing. Improvements in patient care, job satisfaction, and staff optimization are just some of the benefits gained when an organization begins to use an automated scheduling system.
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